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Image Courtesy | Kaitlyn Jeffreys

Team Solent Kestrels got back in the win column on Saturday evening on the road at Nottingham Hoods, with a 92-88 overtime victory in NBL Division 1 action. The win improves Kestrels to 12-11 as the gridlocked competition for playoff spots continues to rumble on, this was also TSK’s 5th overtime game of the season in all competitions, an indicator for just how competitive the season has been thus far.

Nottingham struck first as they went back to back from beyond the 3 point arc but Kestrels rallied through their starting group to edge in front at 13-12. A 7-1 run in reply from the hosts would give them a 5 point advantage with a little over 3 minutes remaining in the quarter and despite Elias Poorman and Kyron Martin’s best efforts to trim the arrears, Nottingham took a 21-27 lead into the first quarter break.

Justin Bessard scored 6 straight points for TSK to open the second quarter and when Ilias Taiwo came off the bench to score in the paint, Kestrels had regained the lead at 29-28. Diogo Soares swung the lead back in the Hoods favour on the following possessions, however a 9-0 run for the visitors gave them their largest lead of the game at 40-33. It was Soares who replied once again for the home team but a 7-3 run to close the half for TSK ensured they held a 9 point lead, 47-38, at the half.

Seth Hall stroked a 3 pointer to open the half for Nottingham but it was Ricky Madison and Justin Bessard for the Kestrels who restored an 11 point advantage. A 10-0 run for the Hoods saw Kestrels go scoreless for just over 3 minutes and forced coach Stanley into a timeout to settle his side with 6 minutes remaining in the 3rd. Bessard knocked down a triple out of the break in play but Theo Riley tied things up at 55 a piece with just over 3 minutes left in the period. The sides would go on to exchange scores for the remainder of the quarter, with the lead changing hands several times, eventually seeing the hosts take a 63-66 lead after 3.

It was Hall once again who opened the quarter scoring for the Hoods, however a 7-0 run, capped off by 3 Martin free throws for TSK, restored a 2 point advantage for the visitors. The teams traded blows for a second spell, until back to back triples from Nottingham gave them a 74-78 lead with just over 5 minutes left on the clock. Madison set about trimming the gap with an and-1 but Soares replied on the following possession with an and-1 of his own. The momentum shifted in favour of TSK as another 7-0 run saw them edge back in front at 84-81 but that was short lived, with Soares tying things up at 84 with 2.44 to play. In a miraculous finish to regulation, neither side were able to break the deadlock at 84 a piece across the final 2 minutes 44 seconds, forcing the game to be decided in the additional overtime period.

Kai Walker split a pair of free throws to edge Kestrels in front by a point early in the extra 5 minutes, before Seth Hall replied to put Hoods up 1. Ricky Madison scored on a lay up attempt to swing the lead back in TSK’s favour, with Walker going 2 for 2 at the foul line shortly after, to give the visitors a 3 point advantage. Madison split a pair of foul shots followed by a Kyron Martin lay up which effectively sealed the victory for the south coasters, as they held Hoods scoreless for much of the overtime period, Kestrels taking a 92-88 win.

TSK Head Coach Ben Stanley was proud of his sides efforts, “A great win for the team, the guys really stuck this one out, we felt like we put together a good run in the second and a really good chance to put the game out of sight. Full credit to Hoods however as they responded and swung the momentum, much like the first game between us earlier in the season. I feel like our guys did a fantastic job of toughing the game out, making some big plays down the stretch and particularly in overtime our defensive rotations were excellent and that played a big part in us getting our first regular season overtime win.”

Kestrels were led by American Ricky Madison who posted 27 points and 10 rebounds, whilst Justin Bessard added 19 and Kai Walker did a bit of everything with 14 points, 14 rebounds and 7 assists. Hoods’ Seth Hall had 27 points to lead the hosts with Josh Guddemi also putting up 27 and Diogo Soares adding 21.

Kestrels now travel across the south coast this coming Saturday evening to face 2nd placed Worthing Thunder (7:30pm) in the penultimate weekend of the regular season.

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